(Editor’s note: Palisades resident Howard Yonet has an interesting collection of curios from around the world. He has now put them into a book with a brief description, asking “What is it?” With his permission, Circling the News will publish one a week, and let readers guess the item.)
Yonet writes: A few weeks ago, I found this treasure in the Santa Monica Salvation Army store for $3.
After a little research I determined that it is a potato crinkle slicer and I was thinking that an English or New England family around 1920 used it on Friday night to make fish and chips.
I have attempted to see what a English working class wife’s economic life was like at that time. If she was a factory worker or office person, she worked 6 days a week and earned two English pounds per week. In that era the pound was valued as 240 pence so she made 480 pence per week or 80 pence per day.
These were some of the prices in London in 1920. Loaf of bread; 8 pence, for one pound of potatoes it was 12 pence, for a quarter pound of butter was 4 pence. So, if she wanted to make a nice fish and crinkled chip dinner with veggie soup and bread and butter, and glasses of milk for her four children and tea for her and husband, I estimate it would cost it would cost about half of her daily earnings.
(About the collector: Dr. Howard Yonet was born in Brooklyn in 1934 and attended Brooklyn College. He went to Baylor Medical School and then returned to do an internship at Bellevue Hospital. Yonet completed his residency at the Manhattan V.A. and the Montefiore Hospital. During this time he went skiing in Vermont and the Catskills, and while traveling found barns filled with early American pieces. This led to his interest in American Antiques.
In 1965, he married Daniele, who was originally from Nancy, France. During the Vietnam War, Yonet was drafted as a medical officer and stationed in Landstuhl, Germany (1966-1969). This was close to the French border, which meant he and Daniele could visit her family.
While abroad, the Yonets took weekend trips through France and Italy, purchasing many interesting pieces at flea markets.
The family settled in Pacific Palisades in 1970 and Yonet practiced general radiology until 2006. He continued to acquire antiques and collectables at estate and garage sales and the Salvation Army Store. He also enjoyed looking for collectibles while traveling in Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Massachusetts. Daniele’s family helped add to his collection.)